‘Quentão’: Spicy Brazilian Mulled Wine

‘Quentão’: Spicy Brazilian Mulled Wine

With 26 states and one Federal District, Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world with a history of more than 500 years. As a result of many years of large-scale migration from many different countries, the country’s cultural characteristic is very rich and diverse and  demonstrated through folklore, dances, hundreds of musical rhythms and cuisine. The most recognisable Brazilian party is our colourful carnival that takes place all over the country for 4 consecutive days in the beginning of the year. During other periods of the year, many Brazilian states run their own traditional parties and folk festivals which are also vibrant and livened up with loud folk music, dance and food. Many of the Brazilian parties are religious-related, with some of the most important ones paying tribute to catholic saints such as Saint John, Saint Anthony and Saint Peter. These celebrations are huge in the country and normally occur in the months of June and July. Some cities also have showgrounds that are set up to accommodate the June parties and they are so culturally important that are even part of school calendars. Every school spend a lot of time planning for their ‘June Party’ that usually happens on a Saturday starting early in the morning and finishing only at night with a bonfire and fireworks. The preparation consists of selecting food stalls,  choosing games and activities, organising school fundraising, rehearsing students for choreographed folk dances called Quadrilhas, planning decoration, purchasing, etc. Parents are responsible for arranging the costume for their kids and sometimes work as volunteers helping with the preparation and selling of  food or working at the game stalls. Girls traditionally wear...
Classic Caipirinha Lime Cocktail

Classic Caipirinha Lime Cocktail

The national Brazilian cocktail is called Caipirinha has Cachaça as the main ingredient. Also known as Pinga, Caninha, Marvada, Bendita, Aguardente, Paraty and many other nicknames, Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from sugar cane with historical records showing its first appearance in 1532 as a result of the plentiful production of sugar cane back in the time when Brazil was still a Portuguese colony. The most accepted version of the origin of Caipirinha tells that it started in the pharmacies of the state of São Paulo as custom-made medicine to cure flues and colds that was made with lime, honey, garlic and a few drops of spirit. Later, sugar was added to balance the acidity of the lime and then came the ice to beat off the heat. Caipirinha is sold all over Brazil, in pubs and bars (that we call botecos), beach front restaurants and Cachaçarias, the specialty shops you can taste all sorts of cocktails made with Cachaça accompanied by deep-fried snacks. In Brazil, alcohol is allowed to be consumed at the beaches, so it is very common to see people taking their Caipirinha kit in a cooler bag to be prepared under the beach umbrella and then drank to cool down the heat of Brazilian summer! Because Brazilians spend the whole day at the beach, before leaving the holiday house or hotel there is a ritual involved in gathering things to take, just to make sure you don’t leave anything behind. So picture this: say a family of four carrying two beach umbrellas, beach chairs, a bag with sunscreen and towels, toys, plenty of food and the Caipirinha...